During this Mental Health Awareness Week, I hope to jog everyone’s thought…
At Elstree, our aim is two-fold. Firstly we wish to find out how a child is intelligent rather than how intelligent a child is. This broad and holistic approach fits into our ethos that we wish to find, nurture and develop talent and prepare children for senior school education and life beyond. The second key element is that ‘effort is king’.
Every child is encouraged to have a go at a very broad range of activities and all of their achievements are celebrated, whatever the field. Thus they grow up within a happy and productive environment where their teachers aim to ensure that each pupil is given the opportunity to shine in an area of school life which builds confidence and high self-esteem.
Year 3 forms the main point of entry for the new intake of pupils from other schools to join boys and girls from our Pre-Prep Department. Years 3 and 4 are based in the Cooper Classrooms with their changing rooms nearby. They have a Class Teacher who teaches their English, Maths, Science, Geography, History and RS Lessons. The pupils start to become more independent in their movement around the school by going to PE, DT, Art, Music, French and ICT which are taught by specialist teachers.
At the end of Year 3, we wish our girls every success at their chosen prep school and Elstree becomes boys only from Year 4 upwards. We believe that when boys are taught on their own at this age, they have a much greater focus, get involved more in creative things, such as drama and music, and develop all-round strengths. We can also unashamedly offer shooting, woodwork, model railways, making dioramas full of toy soldiers, playing with remote control cars, den building, raft building alongside choirs, orchestras, art and design technology, fencing, horse riding, drama productions and dance. Year 4 also brings the introduction of Saturday School which gives us the opportunity to give more variety and breadth to both the academic and extracurricular programmes and the possibility of flexi-boarding for 1 or 2 nights a week.
In Years 5 and 6, the boys move to a “Tutor” system and are taught by individual subject specialists for all of their subjects and begin to work independently work in supervised prep time which is structured within the school day. Their Tutor supports and helps boys to adjust to organising themselves – being in the right place at the right time, with the right things, having completed any work set.
Years 7 and 8 begin to have a greater focus on the examinations ahead of them and their target school. Tutors consider how best to guide individuals towards their own goals and how to encourage them to get the best out of themselves. Our strong record of Common Entrance results and Scholarship Awards bears testimony to the success of our approach and our Year 8 boys leave us as confident young men, without arrogance but with enthusiasm and a readiness to tackle all that lies ahead.